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Old 02-22-2017, 06:18 AM
Hot Rod Todd
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Robins, IA
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We had some unseasonably warm weather in February, so I was able to get the LA-7 out for a maiden flight. The DLE-120 ran perfectly from the first time I started it up, so after a few minutes of running I put the cowl on and got ready for the first flight.

It was a nice day, with a little wind right down the runway. I fed on some power and the LA-7 jumped into the air a bit early. It was not a problem, since it seems to fly very light at 38 lbs. A couple clicks of elevator and aileron trim, and it was flying hands off. I tried to put the gear up, but it didn't want to respond. I think the angle of the gear doors was keeping them from going up. I had air after landing, so I'll need to do some work, also open up the circuit to speed up the gear and help the cause. Flying around with the gear down I didn't get a chance to check out full throttle speed, I didn't want to rip off the gear doors or something. It moved along well even at half throttle with the gear down. I had a bit too much throw on the elevator, and it was a bit hot even at low rate. The aileron rates were good, with medium being about right. I set up for landing and came in with about 3/4 flaps. It seemed to want to float a bit, and my extra elevator throw didn't help the situation. I throttle up and went back around after I lofted it a bit. On the next landing I had it settled in pretty nicely. It went over on it's nose right away due to one of the struts turning. Dropping on it's nose didn't do much damage to the cowl, and the prop will be OK with a bit of sanding on the tips.

All things considered I was happy with it. It flies really well. I'll have to get the gear issues figured out, but that's not uncommon for retracts. Hopefully once I get the gear working right it will not have the tendency to nose over on landing. I may be able to take out a bit of the nose weight to help the nose over situation, I won't know for sure until I get the elevator rate set better and do some stall testing. It didn't help that the runway was very soft and made the wheels drag like pushing through mud.

Here's a couple of photos at the field. No in-flight photos yet, but I'll have some this spring I'm sure.

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